By Ogova Ondego
Published September 9, 2011
Addis Ababa’s Ethiopian Airlines becomes the second African carrier after Nairobi’s Kenya Airways to include Seychelles into its network. Kenya Airways already offers three weekly flights to Seychelles from Nairobi in Kenya. The national carrier of Ethiopia will start the service to the Indian Ocean island from Addis Ababa on October 30, 2011 with one flight per week on Sundays, landing in Seychelles at 3:00 pm in the afternoon and departing at 4:00 pm.
As if displaying the perennial rivalry of the East African Rift Valley distance runners, Ethiopian and KQ are the only carriers covering most of Africa besides their European and Asian flights. KQ and ET are two of about four leading African carriers. The two command a big share of the pan Africa network.
Ethiopian Airlines is now flying daily to Mombasa and three times a week to Monrovia; the Monrovia flight also covers Conakry in Guinea. The airline has also added four weekly flights to Dar es Salaam, another Kenya airways popular city and two weekly flights added to Accra, Bamako, Dakar, Juba and Lubumbashi. As a result Ethiopian Airlines is now flying 68 times a week to East African destinations.
The two airlines, KQ and ET, seem not content battling for East African skies and are extending into West Africa competing for passengers in Accra, Abidjan, Dakar, Douala, Kinshasa and Lagos.
On her part KQ, that operates a smaller fleet of 26 aircraft against ET’s 38, plans to open new routes to traditional Ethiopian destinations of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso and Luanda in Angola in addition to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and Juba in Southern Sudan.
KQ, with fewer planes than ET, currently flies more than two million passengers to 50 destinations in 39 countries in Africa and beyond every year. ‘The Pride of Africa’, as KQ is popularly known, projects that they will fly more than three million passengers around the world every year.
Come November 2011, Etihad Airline of the United Arab Emirates will also seek to share a piece of the pie with Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines. Etihad will operate four weekly flights to Seychelles.